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January 09, 2009

Comments

Mano

Hi! I loved this piece, still do! It's the way you researched your concept and found traces in Kafka, Beaudelaire, Keats, ... As far back into history as i'm able to see, the man of reason and balance always stayed in the margins, indeed accepted the limbo situation. Could it be an effect of the binary-value system the mind automatically subscribes to that we always look for either-or distinctions, expecting Life to take the living seriously or to be totally unacceptable? Am I making sense?

Richard Prouty

Yes, this type of thinking is certainly binary. It's also very old. You either have the favor of the gods (kudos), or you don't. The Stoic philosophy Seneca talked about accepting the whims of fate. What struck me was how little rational analysis guides our lives, even in the big things like the economy. For me, anyway, there's a habit of mind that's left behind the secular rationalism of my education. Also, we all struggle to explain why one person is visited by misfortune and another isn't, or why the lucky breaks never seem to come exactly when they need to, or in the form they should take.

Ruby Dundee

I, too, enjoyed this piece. It could be the catalyst for several discussions or the core of a truly heady board game. However, I feel you have too quickly left behind the Philosopher Handy Manny's prediction - or, more particularly, your son's interpretation of same. Would love to know what the else the boy could add to his evocative statement.

Richard Prouty

He didn't really elaborate other than insisting that the moon would, in fact, crumble to pieces and fall into water. He didn't even specify which body of water--Lake Michigan, perhaps? Maybe he was expressing the handyman's world view that everything eventually falls apart and needs repair. In any case, my son soon moved on to ask why we were crossing an icy parking lot in the first place. When I told him it was to watch our neighbor play in a middle school basketball game, he wanted to know the protocol for rooting. "Am I supposed to say 'Go, Sammy, go!'?"

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Diana Dawson

i really love this. It is so exciting.!! This has been a really very interesting read i must say!!

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What Is One-Way Street?

One-Way Street [Einbahnstrasse, 1928] was Walter Benjamin's first effort to break out of the narrow confines of the academy and apply the techniques of literary studies to life as it is currently lived. For Benjamin criticism encompasses the ordinary objects of life, the literary texts of the time, films in current release, and the fleeting concerns of the public sphere. Following Benjamin's lead, this blog is concerned with the political content of the aesthetic and representations of the political in the media. As Benjamin writes in One-Way Street, "He who cannot take sides should keep silent."

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